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Apprentices get fired up about manufacturing at new foundry training centre

The first group of apprentices are currently undertaking training at the National Foundry Training Centre in the UK.

The centre houses a foundry as part of the Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills – a collaboration between the Institute of Cast Metals Engineers, Cast Metals Federation, Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, University of Wolverhampton, Dudley College, Confederation of British Metalforming, and In-Comm Training.

Partners have invested £12.6 million in the future of manufacturing in the region by opening bespoke, dedicated training centres and working with existing training providers, including ICME, to equip people with manufacturing skills such as casting, toolmaking, patternmaking, metal forming, and general foundry training, as well as mechatronics, product design and development and advanced computer numerical control.

Forty apprentices from manufacturing companies across the Black Country, Birmingham, Leicester, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Sheffield are currently studying for Level 3 qualifications in patternmaking, metal forming and toolmaking.

Ian Fitzpatrick, chief executive of the ECMS, said: “It’s wonderful to see our first cohort of apprentices bringing the National Foundry Training Centre to life.

“On the doorstep of the Black Country, apprenticeships are on offer for the industries that formed the back-bone of the industrial revolution. Toolmaking, foundry, patternmaking and metal forming are being revived, finding their place alongside training in mechatronics, product design and development and advanced computer numerical control.”

Mark Rixham, managing director of Simpson Patterns Ltd in Sheffield, said: “It used to be a badge of honour to be studying for an Apprenticeship, and it’s really encouraging to see the Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills bringing some pride and recognition back to the industry.

“Over the past few decades, there haven’t been any Apprenticeship models that suited the industry and there’s a real shortage of patternmakers. Our core business is traditional patternmaking, but we also make patterns for composite parts and mould systems and parts for businesses in construction, automotive, marine and aerospace and we’re very much looking at emerging markets. Patternmakers have huge transferrable skills and studying for an apprenticeship offers young people a wealth of opportunity to work across the board in manufacturing.”

All Apprenticeships meet the New Apprenticeship Standards with a variety of delivery models available.

Employers or potential apprentices should contact Trevor Codner at the ECMS on 01902 322500 or 01902 321955 or Michala French at ICME Foundry Training Services, Tel: 0121 752 1814, email: michala@foundrytrainingservices.co.uk